Friday, 17 September 2010

Croudsourcing consumer expenses.

Very particular consumer expenses. Since I'm apparently in a controversial mood today, there's a neat link I found called priceofweed.com. You can probably guess what it's about. While I don't do them, I find drug economics very interesting. The products are illegal, expensive, and in some cases dangerous to acquire, and yet according to the Author of Freakanomics, crack dealing has much the same business organization as McDonalds.

Anyhow, back to weed pricing: you can't trust police estimates of drug worth, since they have a vested interest in exaggerating the prices both to dissuade use and to make them look like they've accomplished something. When you spent several hundred thousand dollars, you need to justify it by saying you stopped some equal or greater amount of illegal activity, and the greater the estimate of the activity stopped, the more cost effective you can claim to be. "You should fund me, because for every one dollar, we can stop six thousand dollars of drugs." It gets so absurd that on the TV, I once heard police claim they had interdicted something along the lines of 1% of the US's GDP in drugs. 100 Billion dollars worth of drugs is... well... in 2008, it would have been the equivalent of trying to smuggle in the net worth of IBM. I imagined somewhere, an economist saw that on TV and promptly choked in his own spittal over the absurdity of the claim.

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